Let The Amish Be Our Guides

A Story of Grace and our North Star for the Journey

[The following account was presented by CBS News in 2013.]

It’s been seven years since Terri Roberts’ life changed forever.

In October 2006, her 32-year-old son Charlie walked into an Amish school in Lancaster County and shot 10 young girls, killing five of them before killing himself.

“I heard the sirens and heard helicopters,” Roberts said. “My phone was ringing and it was my husband and he said, ‘You have to get to Charlie’s right away.’

And I looked at my husband with these sunken eyes, just saying, ‘It was Charlie.’ “It could not be,” she said, shaking her head and with tears in her eyes. “It truly was. It was our son.”

Roberts’ initial reaction was that she had to move away. But the Amish came to her the night of the shooting to say they wanted her to stay.

Some of the victims’ families attended her son’s funeral. “There are not words to describe how that made us feel that day,” said Roberts.

“For the mother and father who had lost not just one but two daughters at the hand of our son, to come up and be the first ones to greet us — wow. Is there anything in this life that we should not forgive?”

Roberts now shares this message with those who have experienced trauma. And every Thursday, she cares for the most seriously wounded survivor of the shooting, who is now 13.

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